A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Aston University and Aquarius, a leading provider of services to support individuals and communities suffering with addictions, has recently been awarded high praise from the Technology Strategy Board.
Aquarius has been helping people to reduce the harm either to themselves or others since 1977. They provide advice, care and interventions to those affected by alcohol, drug or gambling misuse. The organisation also offers awareness raising services delivered in a number of settings.
The two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with academics from Aston Business School has provided Aquarius with the support and knowledge required to develop the necessary business strategy and operational processes to successfully deal with a changing funding environment.
The project has helped to develop a market oriented culture in Aquarius along with systems and management processes that allow for effective communication with commissioning bodies to secure new service development opportunities. As a result, Aquarius have been able to construct tenders which are designed to accurately address requirements to reflect the competitive, economic and environmental pressures prevalent at the time of submission. This has ultimately helped in the identification, winning and subsequent management of contracts for the delivery of impactful healthcare, criminal justice and welfare service interventions under the Aquarius brand.
Annette Fleming, Chief Executive of Aquarius said of the project: "With increasing public perception of the harm done to society by substance misuse and addiction related behaviour, the Aquarius long term strategy is to consolidate its position as a leading service provider by retaining existing contracts and winning new tenders. This project with Aston has been central to the Aquarius growth strategy because it has given us the expertise and resources to research market opportunities, engage with potential service partners and construct tailored tender applications which satisfy the standards of commissioning authorities."
She added: "We were delighted to hear the news that the project has been graded ‘very good’ by the Technology Strategy Board which will make it eligible to be entered into the 2014 National KTP Awards."
Dr Ian Combe, Lecturer in Marketing Strategy and academic lead on the project said: "We were delighted to work with Aquarius on this project. Cultural change and business process development in charitable organisations are under researched and reported areas. It has provided a great opportunity for us to learn more about this specific healthcare sector and to further understand the issues surrounding the use of social metrics in demonstrating performance."
The project was part of the EREBUS capacity building cluster, managed by Aston University. The EREBUS cluster is a business research partnership between Aston, Birmingham and Warwick universities. Its role is to assist in the development of West Midlands’ SMEs, operating in the Finance, Energy and Health Technologies sectors, to build innovation and improve business performance.
The partnership received financial support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships programme. KTP aims to help businesses and organisations to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK Knowledge Base.
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